Southeastern Graduate Uses Keen Business Skills to Grow Oklahoma’s Economy
An economic development career professional, Sandy Pratt, CEcD, has built businesses and helped communities thrive for more than 30 years. Pratt has worked across numerous sectors including aerospace, corporate services, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing. She currently serves as account director at Wavteq Inc., a global strategy consulting firm advising governments & public sector institutions in building resilient economies by offering creative solutions in investment strategies, lead generation, FDI, trade and global investment.
Pratt has always been drawn to improving the quality and economic health of communities, regions, states, and countries. Her career in economic development allowed her to pursue her passions. Pratt carved out a successful career path by first attending Southeastern Oklahoma State University
“Southeastern and other regional universities are so student friendly. There is an openness and receptiveness that makes them unique,” she said.
In addition to the welcoming atmosphere, Pratt found that attending a regional university ensured she was connected to and supported by her family and friends.
“My family is from southeastern Oklahoma, and I was born in Durant and eventually moved to the Oklahoma City area. I am native to Oklahoma and loved my time while living in Durant. The community has always meant so much to me. I found so many great connections and my economic development career began in Durant.”
From admiring a beautiful campus abundant with magnolia trees to the quality academic curriculum, Pratt was inspired by her collegiate experience. She gained a strong foundation in business and economics, learning from great professors and mentors at Southeastern.
“Dr. Larry Williams, past Southeastern president who passed away in 2020, always stood out to me as having a significant impact on the road to my achievements,” Pratt said. “His leadership made the university feel like family.”
Pratt started her career in economic development in Oklahoma working for REI Oklahoma providing SBA loans, where she utilized her business and finance knowledge and instinct for local and regional economic development and strategy. After REI she served as President of the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce and Grady County Industrial Authority for nine years. Then Pratt spent 11 years with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce eventually serving as the deputy director for global business attraction and trade. Prior to joining Wavteq in 2022, she provided marketing, strategy and consulting services to Underpinned Inc. clients located throughout the U.S. and globally.
“It’s very exciting and hard work. The inspiration and reward is getting a win, whether that’s helping a start-up add jobs or guiding a community/region through a strategic plan or attracting business investment and jobs to a community, region, state or country. It’s a thrill to work with people across our nation and around the world.” The relationships and global network she built over the years are particularly rewarding.
Throughout her career, Pratt said she’s had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of women, including Natalie Shirley, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum president and CEO and former Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce; Kathy Taylor, dean of the Collins College of Business at the University of Tulsa, past Mayor of Tulsa, and former Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce; and Susan Winchester, RUSO regent. “I largely attribute my growth and success in business and economic development to the business acumen and strong leadership of these women!”
Southeastern planted a seed in Pratt that has grown into a family tradition. Today, Pratt is proud to see her son, Heath Pratt, follow her same path after completing his undergraduate work at the University of Oklahoma. He continued by earning a high-quality masters degree in 2016 at the University of Central Oklahoma where this accessibility and affordability was key to providing the advanced level degree to launch his career in sports medicine.